Aubrey’s Calm Hypnobirth

“I first realized that Aubrey was on her way at about 2am on the Saturday morning. I had a feeling that she might be coming over the weekend as I knew my husband, Peter, would be home and this made me relax more and I knew this was conducive to labour starting.
I was feeling incredibly confident about Aubrey’s birth, as I had just finished reading the last chapters of the Calm Birth School book, knew my affirmations inside out from religiously listening to them daily, and would lull off to sleep each evening listening to the Birth Rehearsal MP3.
Liz’s support as my hypnobirthing tutor, meant that not only was I kept on track on the importance of my preparations for birth, but also that all my birthing fears had been replaced with a readiness for giving birth and excitement at Aubrey’s impending arrival. I had gone from someone who had managed to avoid anything to do with pregnancy and birth (because it freaked me out), to actually looking forward to what it all meant! Reading the positive birth stories of other hypnobirthing ladies made me believe that there was no reason why I too couldn’t have an incredible birth experience.
So, I woke up at about 2am on the Saturday morning with what felt like dull period pains. I tried to get back to sleep but couldn’t, probably as much out of excitement as anything else, but I found that getting up and walking around was much more comfortable than lying down. I’m not sure I can call them surges at this stage, as they were very mild but I also felt they were very frequent, so at 4am I called the hospital to ask them whether this was really the start of labour, and it was normal for them to be frequent, but inconsistent in intensity.
I was advised to call back when they were more frequent and more intense, and was advised to take Paracetamol and a warm bath to make me more comfortable. As we didn’t have any Paracetamol, I opted for just a bath and continued to let my husband sleep, as I’d read that it could be a long ride for him too during labour, and he was to play an important roll as my birthing partner.
The surges continued and must have increased in intensity, consistency and frequency, although I can’t tell you that I noticed as they were developing. During this time, I managed to watch 2 episodes of Game of Thrones (my addiction for the last weeks of pregnancy) and FaceTime my folks!
This took us to about 7.30am, when I was becoming much more focused on the intensity of the surges and advised my husband that we needed to start preparing our dog Freddie dog for his stay with our neighbour. Peter suggested that he would walk Freddie and go to the store at this stage (ha ha!), but I asked him to remain with me. I took this as his complete confidence that I was handling everything really well and that we both felt very relaxed and calm. At this point the surges felt very frequent so we started timing them.
The surges were coming in at 45-50 seconds per surge, every 2.5 minutes so I called the hospital again and this time they asked me to come on in. At this point I definitely felt ready to head to the hospital but had been dreading the 25 minute journey as I was worried it would halt or slow down labour. But, I got in the car and closed my eyes – and from that moment onwards I withdrew into my own little world and focused entirely on relaxation and breathing through the surges. We drove in silence, and my focus on relaxation techniques meant that the journey was much better than I had actually felt while at home, and I am sure this is because I was engaging my brain at home, rather than focusing on my hypnobirthing.
We had stopped timing the surges at this point and on arriving at the hospital at 9.30am, I had 4/5 surges between the car park and labour ward, and on examination I was advised that I was 8cm! Whoohoo… so the midwives went off to start filling the pool for my requested waterbirth.
Surges were pretty uncomfortable at this stage and I was led down the corridor to the birthing pool room, where on entry into the room, my waters broke. This gave a release of pressure, and so I had a little break from the intensity of the surges. Throughout this time, from getting into the car, my eyes remained closed most of the time and Peter did nearly all the communication with the midwives as I remained focused on my body and breathing. I couldn’t even tell you what any of the midwives looked like or what the rooms were like! Peter had given the midwives our hypnobirthing preferences to aid in their support of our plans.
I was offered a kneeling position on a pillow on the floor, resting over a low bed, and this felt ideal as I went straight into active labour. I was offered gas and air, (as the midwives knew we didn’t want to be offered pain relief), and Peter kept me on track with my hypnobirthing breathing as I used this. I was keen to get into the pool and when I asked if it was ready, I later found out that there was a little fibbing going on with Peter and the midwives who kept reassuring me that it was nearly full, when in fact it was barely an inch deep! I stayed like this, with Peter coaching me on my breathing, and keeping me on track with all our practicing, until I was advised that Aubrey’s head was starting to show and I had the choice of staying where I was or getting into the pool. It felt like everyone was very relaxed and calm and this allowed me to focus on what my body and baby were doing.
I chose the pool as this was what I had planned for Aubrey’s birth, and on entering the water it felt heavenly – perfectly relaxing and preparing me for the last part of her birth. The water was incredibly soothing, and still kneeling, it felt amazing as we worked calmly together for what felt like a moment (I think only 3-4 more surges), before she was underneath me and I could sit back and scoop her up in my arms. A truly incredible moment, so happy and exciting, as I saw for the first time how beautiful my little girl is!
I honestly believe that hypnobirthing is responsible for such an enjoyable pregnancy, such a wonderful birthing experience, and such a relaxed, calm and happy mum and baby, and this has meant that we have been able to enjoy every moment together, to its fullest, from the moment little Aubrey joined us!”

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Tara’s Birth Story

I decided to go to hypnobirthing as a few friends had recommended it and as I was, like most, petrified of giving birth. I thought anything was worth a shot, but I’m a real cynic  and deep down thought it would be an expensive waste of time (sorry Liz!).

When I started hypnobirthing, I was suffering from severe morning sickness and feeling thoroughly depressed and struggling to bond with bump. But I threw myself into it and listened to my affirmations, did all I could to maintain a positive attitude and a belief that my body was made for this and I practiced the breathing techniques regularly. I also spent a hell of a long time on my gym ball, eating dates and drinking raspberry leaf tea! Despite the continual vomiting and nausea, this all really helped me to build and maintain a positive attitude in relation to the pregnancy and birth which, I believe, had a massive impact on my birth experience.

On D-Day, minus one week, my waters broke around 1pm. I surprisingly stayed calm, then calmed my mum down (who was starting to flap and pack HER bag!). I waited for labour to kick-start, but nothing happened, so in the evening I was called down to the birth centre for some monitoring and a sweep. Around 10pm, with still nothing happening and only 1 cm dilated, my husband and I left the hospital to drive home. Annoyingly, the motorway junction was closed and the journey took an hour in standstill traffic. I still wasn’t having what I thought were contractions, but felt an uncomfortable pressure.

As soon as I walked through the door, contractions started thick and fast and within 20 minutes they were lasting a minute every 3 minutes. Back to the hospital we went and within ten minutes of arriving at the birth centre, I was 6cm dilated and was being helped into the water bath. On dry land the contractions were getting too much for me, the only way I could get through them was standing up and I became woozy and tired pretty fast. The bath was a life saver, it helped me to let go and let the contractions take over. It sounds strange but it helped  to be able to squirm in the water, push off the sides when needed and lean back between contractions and when it got too much and I was spaced out.

Within around 3 hours, I had given birth to a baby boy, 8lb2, with no stitches needed. I didn’t have any pain relief or gas and air. I would like to say I was a warrior and resisted it. But as soon as I got into the bath, I was in the zone, just trying to just get through each contraction and I didn’t think to ask for any. My routine during contractions, when it was starting to get too much, was to breathe deeply and plead with myself that three breaths and this one will be over! The midwife couldn’t believe how ‘relaxed’ and quiet I’d been and laughed out loud when I told her calmly it was starting to burn a bit when he was crowning!

I had as good a birth experience as I think I could have had (I’ve even described it as amazing!) and I think keeping positive and maintaining calm breathing was a major factor in that. Obviously, it still wasn’t pleasant and I was so lucky that my baby was in a good position and everything went smoothly. But my labour was very intense (with no noticeable early labour at all) and I really believe that hypnobirthing helped me to not panic and to go with it to let nature take its course.

Thanks Liz, after a horrendous, depressing pregnancy of constant vomiting, my birth experience has given me something positive to look back on (and I might, just might, be convinced to go through it again)!

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Seonaid’s Positive Back to Back Birth Experience

I started having mild surges on Monday at 4 am, I sent Ollie off to work as they were only twinges and I stayed at home and made some scones!!

They started to hot up at 11pm on Monday and were getting slightly stronger through the night and the day on Tuesday. By Tuesday night the surges were coming faster and I had a show. I just kept doing the breathing though the surges and called Netherbrook to just check in and say that we thought things were progressing.

The surges got stronger but were manageable with a bath a bit more hypnobirthing and the birthing ball, until at 4 am the midwife said to go to hospital.

I got to hospital and the first check showed I was 3cm dialated. The midwife said that she’d like to keep me there as at 4cm I’d be in established labour. When they checked me at 9am I was 5 cm dialated and the surges were getting stronger.

The midwife said that she would suggest filling the pool in about 40mins or so but with breathing etc I lasted about another 2 hours then got into the pool at about 11 am ish on Wednesday.

After a bit of a long labour….over 5 1/2 hours in the pool, and over an hour of trying to birth Charlie’s head the midwife suggested a move onto dry land as Charlie was a little stuck. I had very little gas and air in the pool but didn’t find it really worked with my breathing so discarded it really (used it only when getting ‘repaired’ later on!!!).

He was back to back with his head in an awkward position. The mid wives gave me ample opportunity to birth the head but I opted, with advice, for an episiotomy and within seconds Charlie’s head and whole body appeared!!

He was holding his cord and had managed to wriggle so much in my tummy that the cord was also wrapped around his arms legs and body!! Ha ha! His heart rate remained steady for the whole time and he had a little tiny cry for seconds when they passed Charlie to me but then he was so calm and just looking around!

The midwives said that 9 out of 10 women would have had a c section long before he was born due to his position and size and that they were really impressed with me. I have no doubt that hypnobirthing played a massive part in this and although the last bit was not quite as serene as the births we saw (there was a bit of groaning/ screeching at the very end!!) I don’t think I would have ended up with a vaginal birth at Netherbrook without hypnobirthing!

Really very proud of myself given what the midwives said! He slept with all arms and legs stretched out from the first night and everyone comments about how chilled out he is and we are! I have been using the breathing from hypnobirthing when things get a bit overwhelming since he has arrived too! We can’t thank you enough!!

We registered the birth a few days ago and officially he is Charles Oliver James Ward and we think he’s just perfect!! X x x

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Theo’s Homebirth

This is the long version of my birth story . .. its so nice to write 🙂

On Thursday night to Friday I suddenly had the most acute sciatica, from my SI joint to my big toe. I called the Netherbrook unit as I thought I could do with some stronger pain relief. They recommended I went to heartlands, they assessed me and I was having surges (though not painful ones) they assessed me, I was dilated but because I was in so much sciatic pain they did a sweep (they thought he may be pressing on my nerve). Cocodamol worked a treat and aloud me to stretch out my piriformas (with yoga stretches) and the pain settled (though I still have a numb foot!)

That night (Friday) I began to feel surges every 3-20 mins, not consistent but enough to stop me sleeping 😥. We got excited but they stopped completely sat am…. which did give us time to sort our lives out a bit! We did a dry run with the rented home birth pool… I had no more Surges until Sunday night (as I hadn’t had any surges for 24 hours we decided to go ahead and go on the spa break my mum had bought us) obviously as soon as we got there I started having surges again… we had a lovely dinner (during which I went to the toilet and had the show) so came back home.

The Surges  didn’t really become regular until Monday afternoon. I thought I was leaking some waters so my local midwife came and assessed me, I was 2cm and she said the membrane had gone and that my 24 hours had started and if I hadn’t delivered/or was close to delivering by 6pm Tuesday I’d have to go in to heartlands 😐…24 hours sounds like a long time but I laboured for 48 with Alice so I found that really hard to hear (I’d set my heart on a home pool birth… although I’d tried to keep an open mind!)

I bounced away on my gym ball all evening, surges were every 3-10 mins depending on my position. Things hotted up at about 2am, Paula, the midwife, came again and stayed for an hour. .. things slowed down… so frustrating! She assessed me and I was still 2cm ….. (I was 1.5cm with Alice for a life time!) I tried to stay relaxed. .. did lots of hypno breathing and listened to my mp3s…. really really helpful to stay focused and in control.

Nothing changed until around 3pm, surges became overwhelming and I could feel a pressure on my cervix. Paula came with gas and air and assessed me (at 3.45pm) and I was 10cm! Hooray! Same pattern as last time. .. just really slow to progress then sudden!

It was such a relief to hear and after she had assessed I started feeling the ‘moo’ urge! They had bought gas and air which really helped as a distraction more than anything. I could feel him coming lower but I was still lying in the bed upstairs where I’d been assessed.

Jason had filled the pool but the midwives thought I wouldn’t make it. I was focused though. They made me carry a towel between my legs as a sling in case he came out on the way down the stairs; ) It was mind over matter though… I didn’t have a surge until I was in the pool. I think walking down the stairs had improved his position a bit and after one surge and a bit of a ‘moo’ I could feel the top of his head. I was so so careful not to tear (having had a 2nd degree last time) so thought of you and did a lot of ha ha ha breathing until I could feel it was stretched right round, then it took just one more ‘moo’ to deliver his head and then he just wiggled out into my arms.

It was beautiful 😊.

He and I were fine. .. no tears! Whoop!

We stayed in the pool skin to skin for about 10 mins, Jason cut the cord. I delivered the placenta naturally about 20 mins later… Then they put us in bed, the midwives (I had Paula and her colleague Debbie for the final bit) stayed for a while to write notes and help my mum and Jason clear up. I just fed Theo in bed.

He’s very settled compared to Alice, feeding well. I have had stronger contractions when feeding him than I remember with Alice so taking reg pain relief but generally feel much more happy with the way it went this time and less sore 😊. And how lucky to have the same midwife for both pregnancies and deliveries!
Thank you so much for your classes they have been invaluable…  🙂

Lots of love xx

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Welcoming Sophia!

I have news…I’ve had my baby girl!

We had her on the 10th April. The birth was fairly fast to be honest…My waters broke at 1am and I had her by 6am. By 1.30am I  started having surges which more or less became fairly strong within half an hour! They were already a minute long and five minutes apart from the get go! But I remained calm and just sat on the sofa, closed my eyes and did deep breathing for the next four hours.

When we rang city hospital when my waters broke and told them how my contractions were…They told us it’s probably not contractions as that’s too fast and it may be period type cramping pain to begin with. Obviously it wasn’t but I think that it actually helped to play down what I was experiencing and helped me get through it.

We had another hiccup….City hospital had no records of our transfer to them (even though it was confirmed a week before!) So Mizan was on the phone to and fro from one hospital to another trying to work out where we need to go! He spent 45 mins on the phone and by this time I was really uncomfortable and felt like I should be at a hospital! But I didn’t let the change of hospital phase me…Mizan was really angry inside but he decided.not to show it as he didn’t want to freak me out.

We finally arrived at (the right) hospital at 4.45am and when they examined me I was 8cm! However, I felt they didn’t really look at my birth preferences and I was whisked into the delivery suite. We had to wait another 20 minutes for someone to tend to us which felt like the longest 20 mins ever! I had asked for water as I was so parched from the deep breathing and they took their jolly time! Have to admit towards the end of the 20 minute wait I did lose control a bit as i just wanted water!!

When they came I was put on gas and air for the rest of the delivery which helped to take off the edge. I just carried on doing deep breathing into the gas and air  tube. My blood pressure dropped too low towards the end though and I ended up having some assistance to get her out.

All in all I would say labour was easier than I was expecting….Staying calm and focused really helped the hours fly by and no doubt hypnobirthing played a huge part. I was anxious that I wasn’t prepared enough but in the end I managed to pull it together.

Mizan was a great birthing partner too he comforted me the whole way either by holding my hand or rubbing my back.

Thank you so much for your invaluable guidance and support. I am a true believer in hypnobirthing! I think it’s the reason why I had a quick delivery…I let my body just get on with it and worked with the contractions not against them.

I am preaching hypnobirthing to whoever needs to know about it! And I am highly recommending you along with it too….Thank you again.

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A Dad’s perspective of Hypnobirthing- Mark’s Story

Like many, I knew very little about pregnancy, birthing and babies and had never heard of hypnobirthing prior to attending classes. To say I was initially sceptical about the concept is an understatement but I quickly changed my train of thought on attending a taster session. I’m not entirely sure what it was that changed but I’m confident that hypnobirthing gave me the tools necessary to support my wife Rachel in having a calm and positive birthing experience.


For me the journey started prior to attending classes. Finding out that we were expecting our first child was hugely exciting, so much so that I didn’t really consider what I needed to know and what I needed to do in preparation for the arrival of our child. I didn’t realise the extent to which Rachel was anxious about birth, something that I now know many women face as a result of years of media focus on the the negative aspects. This could’ve eaten away and hindered the birthing experience that Rachel desired from the outset. It was during the first hypnobirthing class that the penny dropped and I became aware of my responsibility to be more actively involved.. this wasn’t Rachel’s pregnancy, this was our pregnancy.


Hypnobirthing equipped me with a greater level of knowledge about birthing in general. No question was ever a stupid question and I found that if I was unsure about something, no matter how trivial, the other Dads in the group were likely to be unsure as well. This helped me greater support Rachel in the latter stages when we were faced with some special circumstances. I was able to stay calm and work with Rachel and our medical team to make the right decisions for us and our baby. We didn’t always get to the decision that we wanted but we knew that if our desires were to be challenged, it would be for the good of our baby.


Hypnobirthing enabled me to have a positive impact on our pregnancy throughout the duration of our gestation period but most importantly 30 minutes before Sebastian was born when Rachel needed some additional support with her breathing and pushing. Faced with some discomfort, Rachel started to panic and the Consultant was keen to perform an instrumental delivery, something that we wanted to avoid in our birthing preferences. I knew from our classes that if needed, additional support may be required but that breathing techniques could and should be used first. I was able to calmly communicate with the Consultant whilst supporting Rachel with her breathing and pushing techniques which resulted in Seb being born without the need for intervention. Without prior knowledge of these techniques, Seb would’ve been born in much different circumstances.


Finally, hypnobirthing armed Rachel and I with a level of empowerment that would’ve been impossible without attending classes. We were able to ask questions and ensure the decisions made over the duration of our pregnancy suited us and our baby. Most notably in putting together our birthing preferences, some of which were very personal to us and not necessarily in keeping with the traditional direction the NHS usually use. I made our birthing preferences sheet personal to Rachel and I by including some photographs of us and our pets so that our Midwives and Consultants could have a better understanding of who we were. This doubled up as a great comfort to Rachel when she started to miss her home comforts. All midwives involved in the delivery of Seb commented on our birthing preferences document filling us both with confidence that our preferences would be considered where possible.


Whilst these aspects stand out as most insightful for me, the greatest aid to me was the understanding that it was ok for unforeseen circumstances to challenge our birth preferences. Hypnobirthing was never about doing sufficient preparation to guarantee a predefined set of outcomes, it was more about using hypnobirthing techniques to overcome challenges and still achieve a positive outcome in calm surroundings. I found that even though we weren’t able to follow most of our birthing preferences, hypnobirthing gave us the knowledge and unity needed to remain calm even though special circumstances arose.

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Rachel’s Positive Induction Story

Over the course of my hypnobirthing journey, I had a clear vision of the birth that I wanted to experience which was a calm and relaxed water birth without pain relief at our local midwife led unit where I was also born.

I spent a lot of time watching videos of hypnobirths and visualising the experience I would have. By the time I was 36 weeks I felt calm and confident about birth and I was looking forward to meeting my baby.

Unfortunately at 36 weeks my birth plan changed due to a positive group B strep result. Whilst I had no other complications I was now deemed high risk and would need to give birth on a consultant led unit. At that point the use of water as pain relief began to look increasingly unlikely.

I was very upset but I used my hypnobirthing affirmations to move past my disappointment. I would have the right birth for me and my baby.

On 9 February, two days before my due date I had a lovely relaxed day. I went to the cinema to watch La La Land and then attended a hypnobirthing relaxation class.

After the class I realised I hadn’t felt my normal pattern of my baby’s movements and decided to be checked at the hospital assessment unit. I was given the all clear but due to the proximity to my due date I was asked to go back to the assessment unit the next day for further monitoring. At this stage I expected to be home by lunchtime and had already arranged to go swimming.

Following my appointment at the assessment unit the recommendation was that I should be induced. My husband Mark, who was also my birth partner, discussed the reasons for the recommended induction and explored other options available to us. I had never wanted to have an overly medicalised birth and had always felt concerned about an induction.

After gaining all the relevant information we felt comfortable and agreed to proceed with the induction late on 10th February at which point Mark was sent home for some rest. We were informed that inductions often take a couple of days to get going. Five hours later I awoke with stomach pains which I guessed might be mild surges. I managed to breath through the pains using the surge breathing for about an hour. At this point the surges were becoming increasingly frequent and too intense for me to manage on my own.

My midwife examined me and I was having six surges every ten minutes as a result of the induction drugs causing hyper stimulation. An hour later, at 6am, I was 5cm dilated at which point Mark was called and I was moved to a delivery room.

My surges were so frequent and intense I was really struggling to keep focused on my breathing and I felt myself beginning to panic.

Luckily Mark arrived 20 minutes later and this gave me a huge boost. By this point I was also fully dilated and ready to breath my baby out. Mark was able to get me refocused on my breathing and helped me into an optimal position to birth my baby.

Unfortunately at this point some special circumstances arose and it became imperative for my baby to be born quickly. The doctor prepared Mark and I for an instrumental delivery. Mark was aware this was not something I wanted so he worked with the doctor and myself to give me a chance to breath my baby out naturally.

It worked and at 6.59am on my due date Sebastian Matthew Wilson was born naturally without pain relief which was exactly what I wanted from the outset.

Although my experience was difficult and intense and very far removed from the calm birth I had planned and wanted, Mark and I managed to use the techniques from hypnobirthing to remain in control and achieve a natural positive birth.

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to say how fantastic the staff at Heartlands hospital were. Both before and after Seb’s birth they offered me so much support and were respectful of my preferences.

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Woody’s Unplanned Homebirth!

I was getting fed up as I neared a week overdue. I saw the midwife on Tuesday morning and politely declined a sweep or induction as deep down I knew that baby would come when ready and not when everyone else told me…I hated the pressure of being overdue again, but kept reminding myself that we weren’t quite ready.
I went for a long walk on Tuesday and bounced on the ball for hours practising my breathing. I was getting a few mild pains but I didn’t think much of it. By about 9pm that evening I was getting more discomfort and braxton hicks but nothing major so I watched a nice film and went to sleep listening to affirmations.

I woke at 1.30am with a definite surge but managed to breathe through it fine. More surges started soon after but I was managing them really well just using surge breathing and listening to the affirmations and I couldn’t believe how much it helped.
I really felt like I was breathing so much oxygen into my abdomen and that it completely changed the way I experienced the sensations (compared to my previous birth experience). Tony, my husband, was due to take Eva (our daughter) to the childminder at 8, but by about 7.20 I suggested maybe we ask the childminder to pick Eva up for us as I felt I couldn’t let Tony leave… She arrived to collect Eva at 7.45 and then after another two very big surges we decided it was definitely time to get to Solihull Hospital.

I took one step down the stairs and had the biggest surge I have ever experienced and my waters gushed everywhere and suddenly I had a huge and uncontrollable urge to push! I put my hand down my leggings and could feel his head starting to emerge!

Tony called an ambulance and somehow managed to carry me back up the stairs and into our bedroom where I got on all fours on the rug. Two paramedics (neither of which had ever delivered a baby!) arrived and said we needed to go to hospital.  I (not very politely at all) told them that there was no way I was moving!

Within 5 mins the head was out and then his body followed a few minutes after. Tony helped to deliver him and cut the cord once it had stopped pulsating. It was very intense at the end, and I definitely wasn’t quiet (our poor neighbours must have got a fright!) but I was so glad that I managed it and that everything was OK.

It took about 40 minutes for the placenta to come out, which was actually the worst bit because I was really struggling to hold him or do anything because the surges were still so strong. When it finally came out we were taken to Solihull Hospital where I had some stitches and we both got checked over. I was in a bit of shock (all a little too quick) and we ended up staying the night which was nice.
In retrospect, I should have really gone to the hospital at about 6am as I had started to really moan through the surges without being able to stop the noise and I sensed that something had changed, but as I was still coping so well I thought I would carry on for a bit longer.
My lovely cream John Lewis rug will never be the same again, but it was all worth it. Edward, (Woody to us) was born at 41+8 and 7lb15, exactly when he was ready!
The breathing techniques helped so much to keep me in control so thank you for everything!

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Harper Rose’s Birth Story

Harper Rose’s Birth Story

Harper was one week, one day overdue when I went into labour on Saturday 28th January and since week 38 I’d been researching every natural induction method possible to find a way of kickstarting my labour. I’d tried everything (except dates!). I was booked in to birth at my local Midwife Led Unit and endeavoured to have a natural birth. Without Hypnobirthing Harper’s birth could have gone several different ways as the events unfolded after the three days following 28th January. That week I’d had two sweeps and both were unsuccessful. I focused on visualisation and affirmations to help me stay positive.

At 1:50am on 28th January I woke to what I now know were early labour surges. I didn’t expect to be in early labour but in hindsight I don’t know how I thought it would just be trapped wind! For every hour from 1:50am I woke and at 7:00am this changed frequency to every half hour. That afternoon my husband, Craig and I went out to keep busy. At 5:00pm I chose to have a nice long candlelit bath whilst listening to my TCBS MP3s and surge breathing. It was lovely and just what I needed. Craig and my Mum tag teamed for a few hours, talking me through my breathing and secretly timing my surges. Once they were fairly intense and at 3 minutes apart Craig suggested we go to the unit if I wanted just to see where things were up to. I agreed and after an hour or so there we came home. Although I was only 1cm dilated at this point Craig and my Mum both remained positive and supportive. The midwife reassured me that my cervix was extremely soft and it was now a matter of being patient and getting through these latent stages of labour, once I was again having more frequent and regular surges I could go back to the unit.

I spent the next 15 hours watching Gavin and Stacey, eating to try and keep my energy levels up, napping between surges, drinking lucozade, having showers to keep as active as possible and also bouncing on my birthing ball. The sensations were not what I expected as I was having the highest intensity in my back so light touch massage wasn’t quite working to soothe this. Craig was doing his best to follow what we’d learnt in our Hypnobirthing sessions including cuddling me, breathing with me, keeping me positive and also reminding me of my birth choices when I started to doubt myself. After 48 hours since my sensations began, I chose to go back to Netherbrook for a second time, the feeling in my back had turned into ‘pain’ as well as the surge sensations I was feeling in my tummy. I needed to find out why my back was in this way as I’d previously been told that baby was back to back but had successfully turned around!

On arriving at Netherbrook I was examined and was 4cm dilated but baby was again in the back to back position, hence the unfortunate pain I was now feeling. We discussed my birth preferences with a lovely midwife who was extremely supportive and I chose to remain at the unit in the bath to see how things would progress. I agreed to a 2nd examination at 6am and I had progressed to 6cm which is when the midwife said I could use the pool now if I wished. I was exhausted and had I known that getting into the pool would cause my surges to slow I wouldn’t have agreed to it. I was so relaxed in the pool and falling asleep between surges which unfortunately caused my body to relax too much.

After a discussion with the midwife and Craig I chose to become more mobile again. I used the birthing ball and Cub to find any position that was comfortable. My MP3s were constantly playing in the background on a loop and my breathing had become a natural part of the process. I think all the practicing I had done had really helped and the midwives couldn’t believe that I was remaining so calm and quiet without pain relief. Unfortunately after two hours I had only dilated another centimetre and the midwife informed me I’d need to be taken to the nearest hospital, Heartlands.

It was at this point that I suddenly changed my thinking. Looking back I don’t know what came over me but at the time I was tired, uncomfortable and just wanted to meet my baby! I’d come so far and at 7cm I wasn’t allowed to stay at Netherbrook or have the water birth I wanted all along. At the time everything just seemed such a waste and I can’t believe I let my mind get the better of me. The midwife was discussing my options with me and suggested that I might need to reconsider my birth preferences and decision of pain relief, she mentioned that I might have a narrow pelvis and therefore a c-section was highly likely. All of these things changed my way of thinking and I weakened due to exhaustion and simply being fed up.

I arrived at Heartlands by blue lighted ambulance with Craig and my Mum following on in our car. I was greeted by the most amazing midwife, she was so warm and welcoming, and even though I said that there was no point in following my birth plan anymore (stubbornness had hit!) she insisted that my Solihull midwife passed over all of this information so she was aware. A doctor came in to speak to me and tell me some of my pain relief options, at this point it was either Epidural or Pethidine. I was thought to be too far for Pethidine so they took my bloods with the intention I could have an epidural as I’d requested (!). I couldn’t understand why my surges weren’t stopping – I now had the mindset I was having an epidural and potential caesarean, I didn’t need the surges anymore!

It was at this point (7cm+) I found gas and air to be my best friend. After a bit of monitoring and a final examination my midwife told me I was 9cm almost 10cm. She also explained that she knew I had a tough few hours with the transfer but it was now time to revert back to my birth plan and back to my calm breathing and thinking. I might not be giving birth in a pool like I’d always wanted but I was going to be giving birth to my baby in the next hour and a half, without pain relief or intervention, what I’d wanted all along.

I spent the next half hour calm breathing and surge breathing when I finally began to feel the need to bear down and meet my baby. My Mum and Craig were amazing, taking me through each surge and helping me breathe with my body. After 45 minutes my baby daughter, Harper Rose made her entrance into the world and onto my chest. It was the most amazing and memorable feeling ever!

The next hour or two that followed Harper’s birth I experienced some special circumstances but thanks to Hypnobirthing I maintained composure and remained very calm to understand what was going on and what the doctors had to do.

I think Hypnobirthing allowed me to remain calm throughout my labour and got me back on the right track even when my birth started to take a negative turn. I had the most amazing birthing partners who were very aware of the experience I wanted. Without Craig I wouldn’t have been able to remain as calm as I did throughout and his constant reminders of positive words and affirmations were lifesavers at the times I was struggling.

Our baby is so content and I put every bit of that down to how calm my birth was. Her heart rate and movements remained consistent throughout, so she was a very happy baby for all three days! I wanted a water birth and now I will never have one due to being high risk but at least I got to try it out during my labour! Water was my lifesaver and pain relief from start to finish, and Harper loves a bath which I’m sure has something to do with this and all the swimming I did!

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Becci’s Positive Birth Story (the birth of Daniel Jnr)

Finally getting to write you my birth story. I had gone over my due date (guess date) and as you know I really wanted a natural birth. I knew time was running out before they would want to interfere and induce me. I had (aswell as my husband Daniel) put a lot of preparation into our birth experience. I had been to antenatal yoga classes every week from 10 weeks, did birthing partner workshop and hypnobirthing classes. I also did perineum massage every night after my bath from 34 weeks.  Me and Daniel both feel it was because of all of this we had such an amazing positive birth experience. We really cant thank you enough, Liz, for everything you taught us, and for reassuring me through any of my fears or worries.

I had reflexology to help encourage my labour to start naturally. I had a session with Julie coming to my house on Wednesday (4days over my due date). Then with midwife Becky at Samuel Johnson Hospital on Sunday (8days over) Becky gave me acupressure points to do 2 or 3 times a day. She also gave me some oils to sniff to help bring on my labour as well as oils to put in bath. I had a 3rd reflexology with Julie on Mon 3rd Oct (9days over). I was doing everything I could to bring my labour on naturally. Drinking raspberry leaf tea, eating lots of pineapple, medjool dates and hot currys , going for long walks daily, hot baths, sex, relaxation, breathing techniques, listening to my hypnobirthing mp3s, Daniel doing soft touch,stroking massage. I was doing my lunges over my ball and hip circles and on my all fours to help my baby be in best position.

My surges started on Thursday 6th October about 6.30pm after a sweep I had at Samuel Johnson at 11.15am at which Becky the midwife said  I was 1cm dilated (I was over the moon, I knew finally things were starting) , went for long walk after. Becky did have to book me in for induction at Burton for 8am next morning, which I wasn’t overly happy about. Becky reassured me that I didn’t have to be induced, but to go and be checked but know I had till midnight Saturday to still go to Samuel Johnson. I was doing my breathing. My hip circles etc Daniel was timing my Surges on his phone app, it said for us to go the hospital. Daniel phoned Samuel Johnson and they recommended I come in.

I went Samuel Johnson Thur 6th Oct at 10,20pm, they got me settled in the pink room, lovely lighting, nice n chilled. After about 20mins I was offered examination to see where I was. I was 1-2cm dilated, my surges had calmed down too, which I knew was common and so did midwife, so she said to relax and made us both a hot chocolate. We stayed an hour and midwife said it was up to us whether we stayed or went home. We decided to go home and try and get some sleep. My surges were 2 every 10-15minutes. I did stay in bed, even though I really didn’t get much sleep,  but I knew I needed to try and rest, reserve my energy ready for the birth. I did my wave breathing through each surge.

I went to Burton Hospital at 8am (Friday 7th October) for my induction appointment.  I was really tired and having to stop  and lean over with every surge, hip circle and breathe through it. They hooked me up to machine to monitor my surges. Wanted to do Vagainal Examination (VE) because they needed to see both dilation and surges to know if I was in established labour. I did question the VE, once understanding why I let her do it. I was 2-3cm dilated, she said she could feel my waters bulging and would be able to easily break them with her fingers and I could have a water birth there. She thought my labour would move along quickly waters had been broken. I said I would rather be able to go SJ. She said I could go home and to not leave it too long to go SJ. So went home had hot bath, which was lovely, helped my surges feel a lot more comfortable, did my breathing, listened to my mp3 and got ready to go SJ.

Got to SJ at 12.30/1. When Daniel called they asked what room we would like, we said the blue room, with birthing pool. When we got there there was a student midwife and another midwife. They got us settled in the room. Did VE and I was 3-4 cm dilated, told waters were bulging, so I was nearly classed as being in established labour. The student midwife was the one who was mainly looking after me, she would come in and check on me and check babies heart beat.

At 3.30pm they were debating/discussing whether it be best I go home and come back when I was further along. Me and Daniel both weren’t happy with this and I said to Daniel “I’m not going home”. The midwife from the night before had said they are not allowed to break your waters because that is classed as a form of induction, but certain midwifes there are happy to augment your waters and to discuss with who was looking after me. The student midwife said no, I asked her to ask the more senior midwife who then came in and said she wouldn’t be happy to do it because how far past my due date I was and how close I was to being officially overdue. My 42 week date was the Saturday. She was worried there would be meconium in my waters,she said there would be a high chance. That came with dangers for baby and I would need to be in a hospital. So I knew I didn’t have to have another VE for them to see my dilation, so I didn’t at that point. Me and Daniel said we were not happy to go home, they said they couldn’t make us, but they made us feel uncomfortable, not welcome to stay, but we were adamant we were not going home.

They said they’d give me an hour till 4.30pm. We told them our concern was I was really tired especially because I hadn’t slept properly since Wednesday night and I wasn’t sure how long I could go on with such low energy, the thought of another night with no sleep was a very worrying thought for me. So they suggested calling Burton Hospital to see if I went there they would break my waters and move things along. Burton said they were short staffed, I could go there but they wouldn’t be able to break my waters until Saturday. So me and Daniel discussed this and decided we were staying put. I allowed them to do a VE at 5pm and I was 4cm, thankfully because I was classed as being in established labour. So I could stay without feeling I couldn’t.

Thankfully they had change over in staff. Mel and Kate come on shift, both very experienced midwifes. They both came in and introduced themselves. Kate was a trained hypnotherapist and was very keen and interested in my hypnobirthing preparation. Both midwives couldn’t believe how quiet and calm I was. All this time I was doing hip circles and figure of 8’s through each contraction. Started leaning over the bath then as it eased stood upright and did figure of eights. In between surges sitting on birthing ball leaning forward or sitting forward resting on chair. Using my different breathing techniques for resting and through my surges. I had a hot bath, my back was aching, Daniel did pressure on back and massage to help my back through my surges, and pulling my pelvis out and back which helped. I had VE at 8pm  I was 6cm. I felt it seemed I was dilating really slowly and I was tired, just not knowing how much longer it would be going on for, just didn’t feel I could face another night with no sleep.

I kept thinking once I get to 10cm I will get the resting stage, that was the only thing helping me get through the tiredness. I kept getting really cold, whole body shivering especially legs shaking even though room was not cold.

I kept feeling like I needed a poo, I went toilet and did birthing breath. At 10.15pm my waters popped on toilet, it was like a water balloon popping. As soon as they went my surges really ramped up. They became really intense and I started making some noises, coming from really deep within, at the back of throat, uncontrollable. They wanted to examine me again, said I was still 6cm and to get on bed and lean over the back of the bed. I could really feel the pressure of the head, I said I can feel head bearing down and that I felt I needed some help with how intense surges were. Daniel carried on with discussion of what my options were. The sounds, deep mooing (animal sounds) totally uncontrollable just like my body was taking over and pushing baby down.

I kept thinking stay open as baby beared down. Midwife discussed pethidine and another drug which affected baby less (cant think what it was called) or gas and air. Daniel said I definitely didn’t want pethidine which he knew from what we had discussed in the build up to the birth. So we agreed on gas and air. I didn’t know how to use it, I would take one little inhale, didn’t feel it was doing anything. I said I feel baby’s head moving down. The Midwife said I still got a couple of hours. Daniel firmly suggested they start filling the pool. He knew from how I was being (the noises I was making and how in the zone I was) that baby was coming very soon. The other midwife Kate showed me how to use the gas air, breathe in and in and in all  the way up to the peak of contraction. I could feel the difference then. The pool was nearly filled and I could get in. Daniel and a midwife helped me in. I literally got in and breathed my baby’s head out and then one more and got baby’s shoulders out. My baby was passed under my legs to me. The midwife had to give baby some oxygen and a bit of a rub, only matter of seconds and he brought back to me in the water. Daniel told me our baby was a boy once in my arms which was so beautiful, such a special moment.

The midwife who was trained in hypnotherapy was really keen on hearing about the hypnobirthing I’d been taught. She said she wished she could of filmed my birth to show to the other midwifes.

Thank you. I truly don’t believe it would have been such a positive enjoyable experience without everything you taught us.

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